"Find out what it means to me. R - E..." Okay. Show of hands. Who doesn't have that song stuck in their head now? Anyway...
I have probably touched on this topic in many ways, in many blogs, before. But probably never very directly. So, here ya go. Here's my direct addressing of something that really, really bugs me: lack of respect.
I wrote in my blog entitled, Don't Be Loose With Heavy Words, how much I dislike people loosely throwing around words and phrases that can be hurtful to certain people/groups of people. In various blogs, I have touched on how much I hate political "sides" bashing one another. I just get so bothered that so many people out there think its okay to bash people if they don't know someone personally.
I know we all have people, or groups of people, that we don't care for. That's life. That's human nature. But throwing around insults and hurt-loaded words?
My main issue is all the hatred toward the President or former president(s), or certain other politicians, media personalities, or...whomever. I guess what finally made me sit down and write this is a car I saw on Saturday plastered in Obama-hating stickers. Some of them were just so rude and mean! (I wish I had taken a pic so I could share it here.)
A lot of people will say, "Well, I think he's a lousy president. I'm allowed to voice my opinion." Yes, you are. I love our Constitution and love that we have the right to free speech. Don't get me wrong on that! However, when you bash someone, who do you think comes out looking worse? The person/persons you don't like...or you? In regards to the car I saw, I felt sorry for the president. And I immediately had a distaste for the attitude of the owner of that car. I just don't think I would enjoy sitting down and chatting with someone so openly hateful toward another person.
A lot of people will also say, "Well, its not like I know the guy. He'll never hear my insult, so who cares?" Well, I, for one, care! It doesn't matter who you are insulting or if they know you are, saying hurtful things to, or about, anyone is wrong! Whether you think they deserve it or not, whether you think they've earned it or not, its still wrong. You don't know that person personally. What right do you have to judge them? What right do you have to hate them?
Whether Obama or Bush - both of whom have many philosophies and/or policies I don't care for - I doubt they are horrible people on a personal level. I may hate that Bush started an unconstitutional war that has cost thousands of lives, but I don't hate him personally. I am sure he's probably a nice, more-or-less "average Joe" guy if you put all politics aside. The same with Obama.
If looking from a biblical perspective, too, we are told to honor those in authority over us and pray for our leaders. Do we have to agree with them? No. But are we called to respect them and honor them? You betcha. But the problem I've witnessed is, the majority of the most hateful comments I have heard about our president, or other politicians, have fallen from Christian lips. I have heard some pretty hateful, and even vile, things said about our leaders. Its heartbreaking. We preach tolerance and reverence, yet we don't always practice what we preach. And, I'm sorry, but that is just inexcusable.
I was having a discussion about tolerance with a friend the other day. He said (and for valid reasons, but reasons I won't share because they are his reasons) that there are people he just cannot respect. I told him that we can learn to respect people by learning to separate the self from the ideologies. We can respect a person without accepting what they believe. Every person the world over has different beliefs about the world and how it should be. We're all taught different things through school, culture, religion, and experiences. So while I don't agree with a lot of people, I try and separate the self from the ideologies they hold. As long as their beliefs don't turn into actions that directly harm or abuse others, then I try and give people the benefit of the doubt and believe they are a decent person until proven otherwise.
I think a part of respecting others, is knowing how and when to censor our words, actions, and even bumper stickers, toward others. Is it really that hard to keep your hateful, hurtful words to yourself?
I guess why this bothers me is the larger picture. What benefit does throwing hate and hurt around have? Whom and/or what does it benefit? It has no positive impact whatsoever. It makes you look bad, and it adds fuel to the already raging fire of hatred and intolerance in this world. I am weary from dealing with all the negativity every single day. Navigating this world and life is tough enough without all the hurtful and hateful things I read, see, and hear all around me constantly.
So let's have some maturity, tact, discernment, kindness, and respect for others - no matter who they are! Be the bigger person! Because two wrongs - two hurts - never make a right.
What do you think? Do you think withholding respect is every justified? In what ways have you witnessed lack of respect lately? Or better, in what ways have you witnessed respect?